The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), has discovered new tricks employed by human trafficking gangs who now specialize in trafficking children and hiring out such children for sundry exploitative purposes including begging for alms.
The Agency informed Nigerians and specifically residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on the unwholesome activities of these gangs.
The Director-General of NAPTIP, Prof. Fatima Waziri-Azi, disclosed this in Abuja while speaking on the efforts of the Agency in tackling some emerging trends of human trafficking and other associated crimes across the country, and said the Agency has also commenced a manhunt for members of this criminal syndicate already implicated in this act.
She revealed that during a routine undercover operation by operatives of the Rapid Response Unit of the Agency around the Abuja – Nyanya corridors, the operatives intercepted the syndicates and promptly rescued three children all under the age of one that were allegedly rented out by their mothers to the traffickers to beg for alms at one of the busy spots in the Nyanya area for N3,000 a day for each child rented out.
“These suspected trafficking syndicates specialized in collecting babies with the connivance of other members of the gang, hire out these innocent children and position them at the roadsides at busy intersections and bus stops, where they use them for alms begging.
Their modus operandi is such that “They will detail another older child to watch over the children as they move them from one point to another and also to ensure that the proceeds of the begging is collected at intervals.
“These infants are exposed to harsh weather conditions on daily basis in a dusty and dirty environment even in the face of vehicular movement and other forms of abuse without proper feeding.
“This ugly development is one of the highest forms of cruelty as these children whose ages range between 7-9 months, are made to face life-threatening situations on daily basis. The Director-General has warned that all those involved including parents who give out their children for unclear purposes shall be fished out and prosecuted.
The Agency has also commenced discussion with the relevant Government Ministries, Departments, and Agencies to increase vigilance within the identified black spots noted for street begging around the FCT.